Conversations With Colleen: Meet Author, Joy Lennick
Hello everyone! This week I’m thrilled to bring you another new author, Joy Lennick, who I had the pleasure of getting to know through this interview.
I asked her to pick three or four questions from my huge list HERE. We all aspire to be successful authors and one of the best ways to learn some of the tricks of the trade is to ask questions.
First, please meet my guest, Joy Lennick.
Joy Lennick was separated from her parents by the onset of World War II with her two brothers. Evacuated to live with a kind aunt on a mountain (Hare) in Wales, what to do?
She sought solace through reading and joined the local (Merthyr Tydfil) library. Very soon, she became totally besotted with words. Via candlelight, The Bros. Grimm attempted to frighten her from her nightie and she still recalls a few nightmares…but Hans Christian Anderson, Charles Dickens, et al soon introduced her to the sheer variety and magic of stories. She was hooked. (An account of her life during the war years can be found in her delightful memoir ‘My Gentle War’ which is spliced with excerpts from her father’s war diary.)
Pitman’s College learning shorthand and typing. An office-based career followed for several years, her favourite job working as secretary to Kaye & Ward, a well-established publisher in the City of London.
Love came knocking…and she was married in 1953 to Eric Sydney Lennick, a fascinating, multi-faceted character if ever there was one… ‘Dire circumstances in the country’ led them to Canada, where they lived and worked for eighteen, enjoyable, months. Returning homesick’ to the UK, they settled down and had three, beloved, sons.
Two business ventures followed, as shop-keepers and hoteliers. And, all the while, Joy read and ‘scribbled.’ Lame short stories and iffy poems led to slightly better ones… and Kogan Page Ltd., of London commissioned her to write a book about hotel life!
Running Your Own Small Hotel (two reprints) and she was off. Next came the factual Jobs in Baking and Confectionery, and the updating of two of their own books.
‘Life’ again took over – while Joy ran a poetry group and had several articles and poems published in various anthologies. Too quickly, retirement loomed and they decided to spend another chapter in Spain. Joy then joined the Torrevieja writing group and won the first International Short Story Competition run by the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) with her short story “Worth Its Salt.”
The couple joined the U3A group and Joy became a group leader for creative writing, soon after linking up with the writing group WordPlay, now known as Writers’ Ink. (There is, shortly, to be an online ‘off-shoot called the Ink Spot Newsletter.)
Over the past few years, Joy has written: Hurricane Halsey, a true sea adventure; adapted From the Prairie to Passchendaele, the true biography of a brave young man who lived the hard life of a farmer and faced the horrors of World War 1. She then edited the hand-written memoir of her husband Eric S. Lennick: A Life Worth Living, covering his years in the East End of London during the blitz, also the time spent in Bury St Edmunds and his conscription into the Army after the war.
A novel came next: The Catalyst. Based on the horrendous bombing of a London train by a terrorist in 2005. It is a true story, while the characters are fictitious.
Joy with husband Eric has recently published a slim volume of humorous poems and jokes, which they hope will ‘keep the doctor away!’ She then collaborated with a writer friend, Jean Wilson, and they produced a book of varied short stories called Where Angels and Devils Tread. This busy writer has also had many short stories included in various anthologies and won a few prizes for her poetry. She is at present working on a new novel: The Highs and Lows of Leticia Dombrowski.About Joy Lennick
Hi, Colleen. Happy Valentines Day! Thanks so much for this interview. I’m really looking forward to our chat.
Hi, Joy. I’m glad you popped in. It’s been fun getting to know more about you. What was the first book you read that made you cry?
It was “JANE EYRE,” by Charlotte Bronte.
What an all-encompassing story… Thackeray thought it: ‘The masterwork of a great genius.’ I must agree.
Read when I was around thirteen years old and still at Pitman’s College, with those heightened emotions swirling around. I had just met my first ‘best friend,’ Sheila Devo, a charismatic, larger than life, individual if ever there was one!
When I read of the death of Jane’s friend, Helen Burns, in the dreadful Lowood ‘Institution,’ so fond was I of my new-found friend, that Helen’s passing transposed itself to Sheila (although she was as fit as the proverbial fiddle…) and I recall sobbing fit to burst.
The writing was so emotive and profound, it obviously had a great effect on me. The fact, too, that Jane was an orphan and was treated so harshly by her horrid relatives weighed heavy on my young mind.
I read it again on two occasions, and each time I thought how many emotions the story evoked in me. What an intelligent young woman Charlotte Bronte was and what a too-brief life she lived.
Even in the mid-eighteen hundred’s, she wrote that women should not confine themselves to ‘…. making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing the piano and making bags.’
She was rightly proud of her great novel and I was delighted that her heroine found love and happiness with Mr. Rochester, even though it tragically thwarted her creator.
Read the classic, “Jane Eyre,” on Kindle: Amazon.com
“Jane Eyre” is a classic in every sense of the word! So, in your writing, do you want your books to stand alone or belong to a series?
I am an eclectic writer and it just seemed to happen that way. My father, a diarist, had beautiful hand-writing and wrote many letters to newspapers, he also penned praiseworthy Calligraphy. From young, I also wanted to see my own words on paper and was thrilled to pass my Pitman’s hand-writing test… Then I joined the library at seven and that was lost to words…
During World War II, I lived on a mountain in Wales with no electricity, and whenever I could, read in bed by candlelight. The sometimes-flickering shadows heightened the experience when stories from the frightening BrothersGrimm were being devoured. Hans Christian Anderson tales, Gulliver’s Travels, et al enchanted me and the fact I had nightmares was neither here nor there…
In junior school, I wrote a crude play, acted on the school stage and wrote lots of so-so poems and short stories. My first publication was a poem in a UK children’s book; re-published in South Africa, then another was read on the radio.
After marriage and the birth of three sons, I was commissioned by Kogan Page of London to write a factual book after we sold our modest hotel in Bournemouth: “How to Run a Small Hotel”, followed by another factual book: “Jobs in Baking & Confectionery.” After updating two of their books, I formed a poetry group and won a few prizes.
Fast forward several years, concentrating on business and family, I then wrote a memoir “My Gentle War” covering my time as an evacuee in Wales (interspersed with excerpts from my father’s war diary). Several factual articles, short stories, and poems in anthologies came next.
I then retired to Spain where I pocketed 1st prize in the first International Short Story Competition held in Torrevieja (Costa Blanca) “Worth its Salt.” It was the first time I had ventured into part-fantasy as my narrator was a Time Traveller who told of the history of the area.
Because of my love of words themselves and my fascination with people and what makes them tick, I enjoy reality, so try to base my tales on faces wreathed in imagination, hence the premise of my only novel: “The Catalyst.” The main story is based on the actual terrorist bombing of one of the trains in London, UK in 2005, but the characters and their stories are fictitious.
My poetry embraces all facets of life and imagination, from serious to humorous. Each of my books stands alone, while three of my short stories have the same detective (in “Precinct Murder” published byWordPlay Publishing).
It seems that writers who have a series and gain fame for their talent, are more likely to endure than authors of stand-alone books, although that, of course, does happen if the writing is outstanding.
That’s fascinating. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before you begin a book?
I am a curious person by nature (in fact a little odd…) and love learning, so that side of writing appeals to me. I don’t think we can ever read enough…Each writer and book reveals more about the human race, be it in a good or negative way, although I look for the positive.
I always keep a notebook in my handbag as ideas and experiences can pop up when least expected. Naturally, if writing about something outside my field of knowledge, I check it out. It is wise/imperative to verify dates and places, names etc., and language, for your own sake, and to defeat the pedants ‘out there.’ (When I wrote the hotel book, I said – tongue in cheek – ‘I am a small hotelier’ and a critic wrote ‘Does the writer mean that the hotel is small or she is?’ I am just over five feet tall)!
When writing a historic tale, it is even more important that the facts, language, and details are correct. As for how long I spend on checking, is like asking about the length of a piece of elastic. I suppose one could answer ‘As long as it takes.’ Years ago, I spent a lot of time in the library checking facts. Now good old Google and Wikipedia are valuable friends.
Until recently, I was a group leader for Creative Writing for the U3A in Torrevieja and am still in the Chair for the Writers’ Ink group, plus being a columnist for the Costa Blanca News and an occasional blogger, so time is precious. I am also trying to write another novel: “The Highs and Lows of Leticia Dombrowski” I can think of no better way of spending it!
It’s been great getting to know you, Joy. Thanks for sharing with us. ❤
You’re welcome. Thanks for the invitation.
How to contact Author, Joy Lennick & More about her books:
Other books, short stories, and poems:
“Hurricane Halsey” True adventure tale (Published by Libros International)
“From the Prairie to Passchendaele ”Re-worked Memoir of Frederick Knight, published by David Graham Knight
“Where Angels and Devils Tread” A collection of short stories in collaboration with Jean Wilson, published by QGS Publishing
“The Moon is Wearing a Tutu” A slim volume of humorous poems and jokes in collaboration with Eric S. Lennick, by QGS Publishing
Several short stories published in anthologies: “WordPlay Showcase,” “Talk of the Towns,” “Songs that InspiredStories,” “Of Course I Believe in Father Christmas,” “Des Res.,” “Food Glorious Food”
Published by WordPlay and QGS Publishing:
Book of Poetry: “Celtic Cameos and other Poems” by Hilton House Publishing
Several other poems published in newspapers, magazines, and anthologies.
Amazon Author Page: Joy Lennick